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6th Annual Wu Student Presentation Competition

L to R:  Robby Sanders, Aleia Williams, Ahmad Bakir, Tom Geil, and Jerry Dahlberg
L to R: Robby Sanders, Aleia Williams, Ahmad Bakir, Tom Geil, and Jerry Dahlberg. Photo by Laura Horton.

The University of Tennessee Space Institute, (UTSI) hosted it’s 6th Annual Wu Student Presentation Competition on Thursday, April 14th.  The goal of this competition is to allow Graduate Students to present their research work to an audience and judges to further develop their presentation skills.

There were nine competitors this year and presentations covered disciplines in Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering.  The first place winner was Ahmad Bakir, a PhD canidate in Mechanical Engineering, his advisor is Associate Professor Peng Zhao.  His presentation was entitled, “Computational investigation of vaporizing and auto-ignitive liquid ammonia spray.”  The second-place winner was Aleia Williams, a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering, her advisor is Professor Jackie Johnson.  Her presentation was entitled, “Iron Nanoparticles for Magnetic Imaging Applications.”  Ahmad received a $2,000 travel grant and Alia received a $1,000 travel grant. 

There were three volunteer judges at the competition and combined scores determined the winners.  Tom Geil, PhD is a retired engineer from Engineering, Research, and Consulting Incorporated, ERC, a company in Huntsville that specializes in research, development, test and evaluation, and more in the engineering field working closely with defense and space markets.  Jerry Dahlberg, PhD is the Associate Director for Aerospace and Defense at the UTSI Huntsville Research Center and a retired Army veteran.  Associate Professor Robby Sanders is a faculty member at the Tennessee Technological University in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

The Wu Student Competition was named after Jimmy and Susan Wu, who were professor Emeriti at UTSI.  Susan Wu founded ERC in 1988 when leaving her tenured position after 23 years at UTSI.  ERC is still thriving today with over 2,000 employees, and growing.